PACBI Statement

Don’t Help Israel Cover up its Gaza Crimes!

May 18, 2009

Open Letter to Catalan Groups La Carrau and Minyons de Terrassa

PACBI -- Ramallah, Occupied Palestine, 18 May 2009

Open Letter to Catalan Groups La Carrau and Minyons de Terrassa

PACBI -- Ramallah, Occupied Palestine, 18 May 2009

The Palestinian community of artists and intellectuals was disappointed by the news of your plans to perform in Israel, a few months after its bloody assault on the occupied Gaza Strip during which it killed and injured thousands of Palestinian civilians [1] and caused massive destruction to homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, factories, UN buildings, agricultural fields and infrastructure. No matter what your objectives may be, performing in Israel right after the Gaza massacre in January can only be interpreted by Palestinian civil society as complicity, not only in the latest war crimes but in the entire Israeli system of occupation, colonization and apartheid.

It is also particularly appalling to us that you plan to perform in Israel in May, the month during which Palestinians commemorate the anniversary of the Nakba, the massive campaign of ethnic cleansing in 1948 that led to the destruction of Palestine, the ethnic cleansing of more than 800,000 indigenous Palestinians, and the establishment of Israel as a colonial state. For 61 years now, Israel has continued to deny the millions of displaced Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned rights to reparations and to return to their homes of origin.

Moreover, for the last 41 years, Israel has maintained its harsh military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and has systematically colonized Palestinian land with the goal of gradually emptying the land of its original inhabitants in order to use it for the benefit of Jewish settlers. Despite the “peace process” which began 16 years ago, Israel routinely violates the Palestinians’ most fundamental human rights with impunity, as documented by local and international human rights organisations. Israel extra-judicially kills Palestinian leaders and activists; keeps over 11,000 Palestinians imprisoned, including numerous members of parliament; subjects all Palestinians under occupation to daily humiliation, intimidation and military violence; and continues to construct its colonial Wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice at the Hague in 2004.

The Palestine or Palestinian? Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) National Committee recently stated that “Palestine today has become the test of our indispensible morality and common humanity”. In the face of decades of unrelenting oppression, Palestinian civil society has called upon supporters of the struggle for freedom and justice throughout the world to take a stand and heed our call for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel until it recognises Palestinian rights and fully complies with international law [2]. Many prominent international cultural figures including John Berger, Ken Loach, Arundhati Roy, Roger Waters, John Williams, among others, have declared their support for the boycott. Other high profile international artists, including Sting, Bono, Snoop Dog, Jean Luc Goddard and Joan Manuel Serrat have also heeded our call and cancelled their gigs or participation in festivals in Israel.

As the appeal by the Catalan solidarity group, Boicot Preventiu, has stated: “The Israeli government, concerned about the international rejection of its policies, is attempting to whitewash the situation by organising cultural events in order to give the impression that everything is carrying on as normal, as if nothing had happened. This particular event is being organised by the extreme right-wing Zionist council of the town of Acre. Taking part in it is a way of participating in the operation designed to make apartheid and colonisation seem a normal state of affairs.”
Indeed, performing in Israel is tantamount to entertaining apartheid. We strongly urge you to cancel your performance in Israel in protest over its consistent violations of international law and Palestinian rights. Building human towers is a refined art; it should never be used to cover up crimes against humanity.

Yours truly,

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)
www.PACBI.org

[email protected]

[1] http://www.ochaopt.org/gazacrisis/index.php?section=3  
[2] http://pacbi/campaign_statement.htm

May 18, 2009
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